You may be ready to say, “I Do!,” but your budget likely says, “I Don’t!” Well into the season of engagements and wedding events, we ask one local entrepreneur who has made a career out of planning the perfect wedding just why weddings are so expensive… and what she’s currently doing to help cut the costs before we cut that cake.
“Weddings are expensive because of two main things: catering and the number of items needed to make a wedding come together and look cohesive,” admits Heather Sala, owner of wedding planning company HJPlanners, as well as the new NextWed.com. “Approximately 50% of a wedding budget is spent on the rental of the venue and catering! Having a 100 guest wedding is the equivalent of taking 100 friends out to a nice, 4 course dinner with unlimited alcohol. That is a cost that is difficult to control.”
She’s seen it all in her years planning nuptials and decided her new venture, NextWed.com, would address concerns of the bridal budget while helping her previous clients and working with some of her most trusted vendors.
Back to the cost, she explains, “The other 50% is what rarely gets talked about – and is a place where you can actually control some of your wedding costs! Much of that 50% is made up of all of the other items that make your wedding LOOK like a wedding. The great news is that there are lots of ways to save! NextWed.com is one of those ways, and it is the first wedding item marketplace to not charge a sign up fee [or fee to list an item on the site]. If your item sells, NextWed.com takes 10% of the sale.”
A quick browse of NextWed.com offers a variety of wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses, wedding shoes, wedding sashes/belts, and decorations, which Sala will tell you are her top sellers. But the truth is that just about everything in a wedding has a place there, including the borrowed, blue, old and new.
“We have everything wedding,” says Sala. “The items on NextWed.com are from brides, grooms, family members, and wedding party members from all over the world. For example, there are new shoes, old family heirlooms, decorations borrowed from other friends, and just about anything in the color blue.”
“I started NextWed.com because so many of my brides were asking where to get items that were not as costly as those at boutiques and online stores. Asking a bridesmaid to spend $300 on a dress that she will wear one time, or wanting a wedding dress sash but not finding one for under $500 became the inspiration… There was a clear need for a site that would allow the sale of these items, which barely get used.”
And that leaves more money for the catering and cocktails… and maybe a DJ that doesn’t play the Chicken Dance.